In the Public Eye: Part 41

As I ran toward the table in the middle of the main room, I wondered just what else putting HQ on high security did. What if it sent an alert to other hero groups? I didn’t feel like explaining all this to Guardian or the Midwest Defenders.

Glancing at the screen, I saw Travis, Haley, Marcus and Cassie crouched at the forest entrance, in costume and looking nervous.

Picking up the phone, I said, “Hi.”

Travis said, “We can’t get in. What’s going on in there?”

“Sorry, a couple of them got in and we got into a fight and I put it on high security, but I didn’t know it’d shut you ou–“

“Right,” Travis said. “Just let us in.”

I tapped the keyboard, making a few more errors than usual because of the armor’s gloves, but finally managing to move the security level to medium, and open the door.

The forest entrance was a hole in the ground covered by doors of reinforced concrete. Grandpa had designed a system that kept the doors constantly covered by leaves and dirt, both of which fell in as the doors opened. Moments later, the four of them jumped in — well, except that Marcus turned his arms into wings and glided to the floor of the tunnel.

Within a few minutes everyone stood in the main room in front of the video screen. Well, most of us stood. Air and Earth slept on HQ’s olive green carpet.

We were talking about the fight with those of us who had been involved explaining our parts in it.

“What made you think to pick him up?” Jaclyn asked me.

“Something Daniel said once. He told me about a giant in Greek mythology who was impossible to defeat while he touched the ground.”

“Antaeus,” Daniel said. “He was a son of Gaea and Poseidon. Hercules picked him up and strangled him.”

“That’s kind of what I was thinking of,” I said. “Except for the strangling.”

“It’s a great idea,” Jaclyn said, “but if it didn’t work, you’d have been holding him in the air while he tried to rip you apart.”

“I know,” I said. “I hadn’t really planned that far ahead.”

“But it did work,” Haley said. “Good job.”

Off to my left, I heard Travis ask Daniel, “So, did you get anything out of them?”

Daniel said, “Yeah. Everything I could. The mayor made them think we were mind controlled by some kind of telepathic terrorist.”

Jaclyn laughed, “I wonder how he came up with that?”

“But can you prove it?” Travis asked. “If we brought in another telepath, could he see what you saw?”

“Oh yeah,” Daniel said. “I didn’t remove anything. I didn’t mess anything up, and it’s obviously not my style of work. Mayor Bouman’s stronger telepathically than a normal person, but he’s self-taught. You can’t see it from the outside, but it’s really crudely done. I’m stronger than he is and I’ve been trained, so my style would be considerably more precise.”

Travis nodded. “Good. Glad we’re covered there. So Nick, when were you going to release that recording?”

“Uh… I wasn’t. I talked to Daniel’s dad and he said to wait until we had more evidence.”

“Well, why the fuck didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Too much stuff going on.”

“Nick,” he said, “when you agree to do something and then change your mind completely, you tell somebody.”

“I’m sure he didn’t mean to,” Haley began.

“Hush,” Jaclyn’s grandfather said.

I’d forgotten he was there.

He stood behind the group of us, upright, his cane parallel to the floor as if he really didn’t need it. With his costume on, the orange suit with a white “C” fading into his chest, I could imagine him thirty years younger.

“You have one man missing. Your enemy has sent powered heroes out to find you. Now isn’t the time to assign blame. Now is the time to get them first.”

“What about proof?” I said. “Don’t we have to have something on them?”

“You’re not policemen, you’re vigilantes. The Mayor’s not asking if he has the right to do what he’s doing. He’s attacking you. Worry about what’s going to happen afterwards, afterwards. Right now, you need to take him down.”

10 thoughts on “In the Public Eye: Part 41”

  1. The thing that I find fun about this particular post is how completely contradictory the advice from Daniel’s dad and Jaclyn’s grandfather is.

  2. And ain’t that just like life. I suppose a lot of that would come from the fact that they are from two different eras, each with it’s own set of rules and values. Also, Daniel’s dad is a lawyer, so he’d be big into that sort of thing.


  3. Hg: That’s pretty much it, I think. We’ll hopefully get more situations where intergenerational disagreement affects the story in the next collection of arcs.

    Eli: If I’m organized enough to do it, I hope to manage some sort of original Heroes League stories. That’ll give us a better sense of the personalities of the original team.

  4. I love how Hotfoot assumed Obi-Wan status.

    And I agree with Eli, I too would love to see what Rocket Sr. would’ve done.

    Btw, is it me or was the Rocket like the defacto leader of the original Heroes League?

  5. The Rocket ended up being the unofficial spokesperson and the public face of the group. In terms of combat situations, Captain Commando tended to lead as he had an intuitive grasp of good tactics. C/Hotfoot and the Rocket tended to come up with overall strategies.

  6. “Worry about what’s going to happen afterwards, afterwards.”
    Either C has a bit of a memory problem, or there’s an extra afterwards in the last paragraph.

    I like how the oldtimer sets them all right. It’s annoying how Nick never shares anything with his teammates, but I think Travis should be put into his rightful place as the second in command (at best). (:

  7. With regards to afterwards… Read it aloud, and then put in a pause where the comma is, and put extra emphasis on the second afterwards. It should sound like he’s saying “Worry about what’s going happen later at some point further in the future than now” only a little less awkwardly.

    Also, with regards to C… There’s some use to experience.

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